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Mario Riorda, professor and coordinator of the School of Communications’ Graduate Program on Electoral Campaigns, has published a new book entitled, El gobernauta latinoamericano. Estudio del perfil de los gobernantes latinoamericanos en redes sociales.

This work, supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), was carried out with Pablo Valenti, Ramiro López-Ghio, and Fernando Straface. Other faculty members and two EPC alumni, Vanina Berghella and Juan Ignacio Belbis, also collaborated on this project.

El gobernauta latinoamericano is mixed (quantitative and qualitative) study intended to describe Latin American leading public officials’ profiles on social networks and to determine the role that these rulers attribute to social networks in their government work. It also aspires to gain a better understanding of the evolution of digital ecosystems in Latin America’s setting, as a result of the recent introduction of social network into public activities.

To those ends, the study surveyed and analyzed secondary sources and statistics, over 74,000 tweets and 15,000 Facebook postings, 41 surveys to relevant players (mayors, secretaries, community managers, etc.), mayors’ personal webpages, and the institutional websites of 61 Latin American city halls (municipalities or prefeituras) with over a million constituents.

This study is based on the growing significance of social networks, which shows Latin American local leaders’ willingness and/or disposition to increasingly incorporate these tools to their government roles. As noted by researchers, “Latin America is the region with the greatest use of social networks, albeit with utilization dissimilarities.” Looking at this disparity and regarding municipal administrations, researchers identified a number of questions: “Are social networks used only as a communication tool, or is there an emerging move towards new government practices with greater citizen engagement? Is a new government officials’ profile surfacing as a result of the expanding role of social networks in Latin America?

“The new 360 management notion implies the creation of multi-directional communication flows, the required media streamlining, open government instances that enable new oversight and accountability tasks or practices, micro-segmenting efforts, collaborative and engaging approaches to projects or public policies or utilities, etc.,” claim the authors. Also, new generational factors may be incorporated to research instruments to determine whether a new generation of leaders is emerging, with a more acute awareness of their service duty to their constituencies and society at large, or to establish if other stimuli actually explain or encourage these practices across Latin America.

Based on these reasons, Riorda, Valenti, López-Ghio, and Straface justify this study intended to describe the features of leaders’ profiles in the region, exploring how the digital ecosystems where they dwell are built and the impact they have on citizens.

Source: School of Communications

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